Letchworth boy with autism snapped up by modelling agency

PUBLISHED: 08:27 13 September 2018

Aflie Aldridge from Letchworth has done shoots for River Island. Picture: River Island

Aflie Aldridge from Letchworth has done shoots for River Island. Picture: River Island

Archant

A Letchworth boy with autism who says he was told he could not take part in plays or have his picture taken at his first school is now modelling for big brands.

Alfie Aldridge was recommended to a modelling agency after an actor and friend of the family saw a performance he was in at Stevenage’s Gordon Craig Theatre, and has now done shoots for H&M, River Island and been involved in an advert for Land Rover.

Now, dad Gary wants people to know that limitations “can’t stop your dreams”.

He told the Comet: “Alfie was at his mainstream school in Letchworth until he was six, and towards the end of his time there they just didn’t know what to do with him.

“I’ve been bringing Alfie up on my own since he was four. It really wasn’t nice that he just wasn’t being included and he was down to one hour a day at school. They said he couldn’t be in the schol play or have his school photo taken.”

After enrolling 11-year-old Alfie at Larwood School in Stevenage, Gary noticed a big change him. He soon joined a performing arts school, and has since performed at the Gordon Craig Theatre.

A friend of Gary’s set up a photoshoot for Alfie after seeing him on stage. From there, he was picked up by Zebedee Management, an agency for models with disabilities.

Gary said: “At the first shoot we did for River Island there was another little girl from the same agency, Lois Groom – she’s the face of the brand. 
“Lois and Alfie have formed a lovely relationship together, and can keep in touch since her and her family are close by in Ware.

“I just want people to know that disabilities can’t stop your dreams. Alfie’s really changed since since he’s met Lois and it’s fabulous.

“The teachers at Larwood were great with him, and the modelling has had a massive impact on his confidence.

“We have had a really tough journey – with the lack of help that was out there and I struggled to get any information. I had to really battle to get him into his new secondary school he’s in now, a school for his needs.

“I’ve been to hell and back, but it’s been worth it for him. Before leaving mainstream school it looked like we had no hope, but the things he’s achieved now are fantastic.”

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